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Everything changes when Justin rides his magical horse into her path and takes her under his wing. Like the rest of the elite men who serve as Spirit Knights, he hunts restless ghosts that devour the living.
When an evil spirit threatens Claire’s life, she’ll need Justin’s help to survive. And how could she bear the Knights’ mark on her soul? Everybody knows Girls Can’t Be Knights.
The second major theme is about being who you are no matter who tells you not to. The very title describes one of Claire's biggest problems, that of being something she's not "supposed" to be. Her struggles pit her against norms and expectations that she has to have the strength to resist. As a woman, I've dealt with this a time or two myself, and as a parent, I've caught myself saying it a few times.
A lot of ghost hunting stories are interested in exploring religion, romance, or history. Or just being action-packed smashing romps. While there's a smidget of each in this story, the ghosts are more of a metaphor for memories, nostalgia, our darker impulses, and changing social mores. That said, it's really not about the ghosts, it's about the living, and these people have complicated lives.
Being a veteran author, what writing skill-set of yours do you think has grown/changed the most? Do you believe this is typical of most authors?
The mechanics of my writing has grown immensely. I cringe now when I read my first novel (not my first published book, but rather the first novel length story I completed).
Oh gosh, I think most of us have the same reaction to our first full-length work.
There's only a few things wrong with the story, but the writing is rife with very amateurish mistakes to the degree that I'd have to rewrite the entire thing to use it. I'm hardly perfect now, of course. However, my editor says she likes to work on my manuscripts because they're so much cleaner than some of the other stuff she works on.
How do you see the success of so many Indie authors changing the face of book selling and creating?
The wrecking ball is still swinging and the dust hasn't even begun settling yet. I suspect that we're going to see more battles between the giants, and I think the professional associations that authors belong to will wind up playing a greater role in title visibility than they currently do. My experience so far is that one author standing alone, regardless of publishing method, fails. Groups of writers are probably going to rise up as the force that propels titles into visibility.
What do you feel is a new writer’s greatest challenge in today’s publishing world?
Writing. The rest of it, while necessary, can be highly distracting and draining. Every writer needs to find the right balance of time spent writing and time spent doing everything else, on top of living a life. My motto is: Write words. Lots of words.
Perfect motto! Thank you for being here to share yourself and this story with the Alleyway. All the best to you always...
Author, Gamer, Squirrel Aficionado
Lee French lives in Olympia, WA, and is the author of several books, most notably the Maze Beset Trilogy, The Greatest Sin series (co-authored with Erik Kort), and assorted tales in her fantasy setting, Ilauris. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with one dragon and absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.
She is an active member of the Northwest Independent Writer’s Association and the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, and serves as the co-ML for the Olympia region of NaNoWriMo.
What are your thoughts on the mixture of modern-day knights and ghosts in YA?